Week 1: Mother’s Guilt
I am sure becoming a new mom/parent has it’s challenges. I knew roughly what to expect since I read a ton of pregnancy books, read forums/blogs, took the Hoag parenting classes, and went over every thing I could possibly think of for a vaginal birth but being that I had to have an emergency cesarean, I was not prepared for what I was about to endure. Sure, the birth and arrival of Livvie was difficult all on it’s own, but the days after were just as difficult.
First, the emotions I went through were extremely challenging to go through. A nurse at Hoag commented saying I have “Mother’s Guilt” which meant that I felt guilty for every single time Livvie would cry or all the things I wasn’t able to do for her. Basically, all I wanted to do was cry and I emotionally felt the weight of the world on my shoulders because I felt completely helpless.
I felt guilt on how Livvie arrived and how I wasn’t able to hold her as soon as she was born. I also had guilt on not being able to feed her for hours so she cried and cried while I was passed out after surgery. I even felt guilt that I had to press a call button or wake Grant up to get Livvie swaddled, comforted when she cried, change her diapers etc. I pretty much was bound to my bed for the first two days and could barely walk or do anything.
We had a ton of amazing family members and friends visit us in the hospital. I even feel some people got to hold Livvie longer than I did because I really wasn’t able to for almost an entire day since I barely could move my body. For over 24 hours I couldn’t even feel her on my chest when she was nursing. The scene in the movie Kill Bill comes to mind when she was trying to wiggle her toes. Mine wouldn’t move for hours. The feeling of being useless crept into my mind and it was challenging to overcome.
I kept thinking in my mind what could I have done to make Livvie cry like that. It was painful to see her cry even though I know all babies cry. I just felt like a failure of a mother to her because she seemed to cry a lot. All the nurses, friends and family had to reassure me over and over and over again. Our nursing journey also added to the pressure of feeling more of a failure since she did lose some weight at the hospital. The nurses, doctors and lactation specialists were extremely supportive and kept motivating me to keep doing what I was doing.
When we got home it didn’t feel like it got any easier since Grant now had to do so much on his own without the hospital staff to help out. I also was stubborn in trying to do more and even pushed myself so hard that my stomach began to bleed where the cut was made. It was challenging to see Grant have to do so much for Livvie and myself while he was trying to hold us all together.
Even Livvie’s first doctor’s appointment I was so fearful of her needing to nurse in public my face was filled with terror because I was still trying to figure it all out myself. The receptionist at the front saw my face and eyes filled with tears and her words still echo in my mind. Who knows if she tells this to anyone and everyone but she told me simply from all the years she has done her job the mothers who were worried and would cry with their babies tend to be the ones who were amazing.
Each day I began to cry less and was able to see and understand that she wasn’t crying because I did something wrong it was just her way of communicating. Grant had to reassure me constantly showing me she cried even in his arms and sometimes she just had to cry it out because she was fed, her diaper was clean etc. It was a hard concept for me to accept at first but by the end of the first week I didn’t cry every single time she did but there were times I still had a few tears watching Livvie.
Livvie’s first week with us has been amazing and challenging in ways I never thought would happen. I never thought I could love something so much until I had Livvie. This entire week I kept talking to God and just couldn’t thank him enough for this precious gift. I truly felt overwhelmed with love in my heart for this little girl. I know that it will get easier but it was truly helpful to have Grant being the rock that he has been because I needed that especially during this week. There are so many amazing blessings and I am extremely thankful for the countless support I have gotten during this time. I have had so many people visit, call and text me with support and love during this time which is exactly what we needed as a family. There are so many things to look forward to but right now we just need to take one day at a time.